In November, a team from the Garhwal Rifles will travel to France so they can identify and bring back the remains of two soldiers killed during the First World War, an Army official said, as reported by NDTV.
The Garhwal Rifles is one of the Indian Army’s most honoured infantry regiments. Initially called as the 39th (Garhwal) Regiment of the Bengal Army, it eventually became a part of the British Indian Army. After independence, it was inducted into the Indian Army.
The regiment served during the Frontier campaigns of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, as well in both the World Wars and the wars fought after Independence.
Recently, the remains of four soldiers were found by the French government, including two unnamed Indian soldiers, a German and a British soldier at a construction site near Laventie, which is about 70km from Dunkirk, in France.
“The French government has found remains of two soldiers along with their regimental insignia having 39 number engraved on it. This makes us believe that the two soldiers could be of the Garhwal Rifles regiment,” Lt. Colonel Ritesh Roy of Garhwal Rifles said.
“We have already informed the Indian government and top Army officers about the situation and a team from our regiment will be visiting France to identify the remains,” the official said.
If the remains belong to the Garhwal Rifles regiment soldiers, then their bodies will be brought back to India with full army honour, an official said.
Today this regiment is made up of more than 25,000 soldiers, organised into nineteen regular battalions. Garhwali people primarily live in the Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand.
Over 650 soldiers of the Garhwal regiment lost their lives during World War I.